Ambysoft Logo

Agility at Scale: 2011 Open Research

How to Measure Anything This open research into agility at scale was performed during the month of November 2011 and there was 168 respondents. I co-designed this survey with Paul Gorans, the lead of the Accelerated Solution Delivery (ASD) practice within IBM Global Services. The survey was announced in on several agile mailing lists, on my Twitter feed.

The Survey Results

Some findings, which are described in detail in my January 2011 DDJ column entitled How to Adopt Agile Successfully, include:

  • Only 26% of respondents indicated that their teams were co-located.
  • Of the respondents who believed they were on agile teams, 42% believed they were on successful teams, 28% believed they were on challenged teams, 3% said they were on failed/failing teams, and 26% said it was too early to tell. So, excluding the two early to tells, 57% were on agile teams deemed successful and 38% on challenged teams.
  • Figure 1 depicts the relationship between team size and success rates. It’s interesting to note that several respondents indicated they were on very large agile teams that are deemed a success.
  • Figure 2 depicts the relationship between geographic distribution and agile team success.
  • Figure 3 and Figure 4 depict the relationship between potential accelerators for agile adoption and the success of agile teams.
  • Figure 5 depicts the relationship between potential impediments to agile adoption and the success of agile teams.

Figure 1. Project success and size of agile teams (# IT people).


Figure 2. Project success and geographic distribution of agile teams.


Figure 3. Potential environmental accelerators to agile adoption and project success.

Figure 4. Potential management and governance accelerators to agile adoption and project success.


Figure 5. Potential impediments to agile adoption and project success.



Survey questions

The Survey Questions

Survey Data File

Raw Data

Survey Presentation

Summary Presentation


What You May Do With This Information

You may use this data as you see fit, but may not sell it in whole or in part. You may publish summaries of the findings, but if you do so you must reference the survey accordingly (include the name and the URL to this page). Feel free to contact me with questions. Better yet, if you publish, please let me know so I can link to your work.


Discussion of the Results

  1. People didn’t know the purpose of the survey, so that likely removed some bias.
  2. This survey suffers from the fundamental challenges faced by all surveys.


Links to Other Articles/Surveys

  1. My other surveys


Why Share This Much Information?

I’m sharing the results, and in particular the source data, of my surveys for several reasons:

  1. Other people can do a much better job of analysis than I can. If they publish online, I am more than happy to include links to their articles/papers.
  2. Too many traditionalists out there like to use the “where’s the proof” question as an excuse not to adopt agile techniques. By providing some evidence that a wide range of organizations seem to be adopting these techniques maybe we can get them to rethink things a bit.
  3. I think that it’s a good thing to do and I invite others to do the same.